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The Sparsholt Affair


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The Sparsholt Affair is the long-awaited sixth novel from the supreme stylist of British fiction and previous winner of the Man Booker Prize. From Oxford during the dark days of the Second World War to contemporary London, this is a masterly novel about sexuality, art and family secrets.

About the Author

Alan Hollinghurst is the author of several novels including The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, The Spell,The Line of Beauty and The Stranger's Child. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction and the 2004 Man Booker Prize. He lives in London.


Hollinghurst is a master storyteller ... thrilling in the rather awful way that the best Victorian novels are, so that one finds oneself galloping somewhat shamefacedly through the pages in order to discover what happens next. -- John Banville
Hollinghurst can make language do what he wants . . . It makes a lot of contemporary fiction seem thin and underachieving. * Evening Standard *
Few writers' prose can throw a party as easily as retire to the library as Hollinghurst's * Spectator *
Mr. Hollinghurst's great gift as a novelist is for social satire as sharp and transparent as glass, catching his quarry from an angle just an inch to the left of the view they themselves would catch in the mantelpiece mirror. * The New York Observer *
Alan Hollinghurst's The Sparsholt Affair is startling, radical, embedded in tradition but entirely new in final effect - the novel that other novelists were all talking about this year. -- Philip Hensher * Guardian *
I've just started The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst, my favourite living novelist. It had better be good. -- Charlotte Mendelson * Guardian *
I had the distinct sense, on finishing Alan Hollinghurst's latest novel, that I might have read next year's Booker-winner before this year's had even been announced. The Sparsholt Affair is a sweeping and intimate masterpiece, full of sensual pleasures and observational wisdom. -- Geoff Dyer * Guardian *
I was glad George Saunders won the Man Booker and for next year's prize it's hard to look beyond Alan Hollinghurst's masterful The Sparsholt Affair, which I found thrillingly stylish and gripping. -- Alex Preston * Guardian *
At a time when it seems you only have to write a novel in the present tense with mentions of the internet to be categorised as experimental, Alan Hollinghurst's The Sparsholt Affair proved the real thing. It's not often that readers see such a fundamental rethinking of what fiction can do, and rarer still that the result is such a joy. -- Philip Hensher * Spectator *
But for narrative ambition and sheer comic joy, by far the best thing I've read this year is Alan Hollinghurst's The Sparsholt Affair. It's a novel with brains and heart and balls - the kind you find yourself wanting to read at two speeds at once: very quickly, so that you can get on to the next page, and very slowly, so that you can linger over each beautifully crafted sentence. He's a writer who makes every word sing. -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * Spectator *
The Sparsholt Affair begins with a group of friends in wartime Oxford who become obsessed with the beautiful, heartily unintellectual and apparently heterosexual David Sparsholt. Then we leap in time, to hear from Sparsholt's son, Johnny. In the gaps between sections, something happened. The "affair" of the novel's title is "some sort of scandal" in the 1960s involving Sparsholt, a Tory MP and rent boys. Alan Hollinghurst explores the effects of a scandal over time and generations. * The Times, Saturday Review, The best new paperbacks to read on holiday this summer *

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